A daughter of Helios and consort of Lycus. She abused and mistreated Antiope who served her as a slave. Antiope's sons Amphion and Zethus took revenge by tying Dirce to the horns of a raging bull. After her death her body was changed by Dionysus, in whose service she had been engaged, into a well on Mount Cithaeron.1 A small river near Thebes likewise received its name from her.2


Dirce's punishment is the subject of a famous Farnesian Bull, a work of Apollonius and Tauriscus of Tralles (ca. 150 BCE). A mural in the Casa dei Vettii in Pompeii depicts the same scene.



  1. Hyginus. Fabulae, 7.
  2. Pausanias. Description of Greece ix, 25.3.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.